How to Snap or Split-screen Windows in macOS

How To Snap Split Screen Macos Featured

Nowadays, most of our work seem to be done in the browser. All we need is a browser and an Internet connection and we can sit down for the whole day working. However, there are times when you need to work on multiple windows, whether it’s writing in Word, making a presentation in PowerPoint or watching a movie in VLC. For macOS users, Apple has made it incredibly easy to work in split-screen mode so you can power work with the best of them. If you want to move windows quickly to one side, snap mode is a welcome feature. So how do you perform both of these tasks? Keep reading and we will show you how.

Working with Split-Screen

Sometimes, you just need to be focused and get your work done. When that moment strikes, having multiple windows open can be incredibly distracting. Enter split-screen on macOS and the ability to put two apps side-by-side. This is the perfect opportunity to have your web browser on one side for research while the other can be for Pages, Keynote, Word, PowerPoint, etc. If you are going to work in split-screen mode, there are a few important pieces of info you should know before you begin.

How To Snap Split Screen Macos Side By Side
  • If you need to see the menu bar, move your mouse icon toward the top of the screen. It does not matter where. Any place near the top will suffice.
  • Do you want to swap the windows from one side to another? Click on either window at the top of the application and drag it to the other side.
  • While app sizes default to a 50/50 split view, you are not stuck with that distribution of screen space. Click and drag the vertical line that separates both apps and you will be able to adjust their width.

Entering Split-Screen in macOS Catalina

1. Click on the circular green button in the upper left corner of any window. A window drop down will appear that offers you three different options. The first of which is to go right into full-screen mode. For the purposes of this post, focus on the second and third options which offer to open the window on the left of the screen or the right of the screen respectively.

How To Snap Split Screen Macos Green Button

2. Once you have chosen either side, the opposite window will show you all of the currently open apps on your Mac. You can choose any of those apps to fill up the opposite side of the screen so you have two apps open with a 50/50 screen split.

How To Snap Split Screen Macos Open Apps

3. To work in either window, click anywhere in the window you want to work.

Entering Split-Screen in Previous macOS Versions

1. Click and hold the green button in the upper left corner of the window you want to open on one side.

2. As you hold the button, you can drag it to the left or right of the screen.

How To Snap Split Screen Macos Mojave

3. Release the button and then click a window on the other side of the screen to open any of your available apps.

How To Snap Split Screen Macos Mojave Two

Exiting Split-Screen

1. To exit split-screen mode, click the full-screen green button. This is the same button that you used to enter the split-screen mode. Once you press the green button, the selected window will exit the split view.

How To Snap Split Screen Macos Exit Split Screen

2. The previously split window will now open up in full-screen size. Now click the green button again and it will shrink the final window back to its previous size.

Snap Mode

If split-screen is not what you need to be productive, an alternative option for window management is available. Snap is incredibly familiar to Windows users having been around for years but has become a favorite for macOS users as well.

Entering snap mode is very straightforward. All you have to do is click and drag any open window to one of the four sides or four corners of your display. Once a translucent box appears, release the mouse button. The window will now automatically snap into position.

All totaled, you have up to ten different options for window snapping in macOS Catalina including dragging a window into a corner. This will then take up 25% of your screen. You can drag it to the bottom of your screen where it will fill the middle third. Take it to the top of the screen to zoom in on it. This step requires a little extra care because if you drag too far north, you will enter Mission Control.


These two window sizing options are two of the best parts of macOS. Simple and easy to use, they can increase your productivity by a mile. While they are different in functionality, they both allow you to work smarter and better. How do you work in macOS? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

David Joz
David Joz

David is a freelance tech writer with over 15 years of experience in the tech industry. He loves all things Nintendo.

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